The Sit List: 5 ways to get involved in Berkeley

Watch a documentary about restaurant workers; join a conversation about Black Berkeley; learn about botanical art; and explore California’s wilderness.

Still from the Abby Ginzburg documentary ‘Waging Change.’

Watch a documentary about restaurant workers; join a conversation about Black Berkeley; learn about global botanical art; explore California’s wilderness; and read a story about rainbows. 

WAGING CHANGE The situation for restaurant workers has become dire because of the pandemic, but there have been unfair working conditions in the industry for a long time. Waging Change, a documentary by Abby Ginzberg, profiles restaurant workers who are trying to feed themselves and their families off tips. It covers the movement to end the federal tipped wage minimum at $2.13 and shines a light on the effects of the #MeToo movement to end sexual harassment in the industry. The film features Saru Jayaraman, who is the president of One Fair Wage and director of the Food Labor Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley. Watch the film and learn how to get involved to support restaurant workers. Broadcast on KQED 9 on Friday, Feb. 19 at 8 p.m. (Read our feature story on the film as well).

BLACK BERKELEY The Black population is under threat all around the U.S., but what about the situation for the Black community in Berkeley? In “The State of Black Berkeley,” a Zoom conference presented as part of Black History Month, you’ll learn about urgent issues for Black people in Berkeley. You’ll be enlightened about health disparities, displacement,  the shrinking of Black employment rates, unemployment, achievement gaps at the Berkeley Unified School District, racial profiling, and homelessness and the un-housed. The Black community needs Berkeley’s support—come and learn how to take action.

SPLENDID FOREST Across the world, there are many beautiful forests of all sizes and shapes. We may be familiar with California landscapes, but you can learn about forests in India in “The Splendour of the Forest: A Cross-Cultural Perspective on Botanical Art,” an event hosted by the UC Botanical Garden and the Institute for South Asia Studies. The event is presented in collaboration with Sarmaya, an arts organization and boundary-free museum based in India. Designer Pavitra Rajaram will give a lecture on how she has incorporated her expertise in botanical art into her work in Mumbai and beyond. Revel in the beauty of global nature. Sunday, Feb. 21. 7-8 p.m. $10 but free for UCBG members. Register online.


A plant at the Botanic Garden in Tilden Park. Photo: Friends of the Regional Parks Botanic Garden.

GARDEN CLASSES It’s the perfect time of year to learn something new about the natural world around you. Classes at the Botanic Garden at Tilden Park are now open for enrollment. (The garden reopened by appointment as well on Feb. 18). Learn all about California’s prominent trees, like the redwoods, giant sequoias, tanbark oak, buckeye, and more. Via Zoom, you’ll master where they grow, their uses, their key features, and how they reproduce. You can also drop into Dan Gluesenkamp’s seminar about the Franciscan manzanita, a plant with an entwined connection to California’s history. The event organizers describe the tale of the Franciscan manzanita as, “a story of politics and public perception, as much as botany and beauty.” That sounds naturally riveting. Prices vary for classes. The first classes begin on February 23.

RAINBOW STORY Kids of every color are beautiful. In this special storytime hosted by the Exploratorium, Vivian Altmann will read the children’s book, Black is a Rainbow Color, written by Angela Joy and illustrated by Ekua Holmes. The book describes how color can be connected to culture, history, family, or self-identity. In the science activity accompanying the reading, kids will learn that black is all the colors of the rainbow mixed together. Kids will need to have basic supplies for the activity. Have your little ones join in this meaningful and fun activity that celebrates culture and diversity. Wednesday, Feb. 24. 1 p.m. Free and hosted on Facebook and YouTube.